Just when you thought it could not get worse for the Washington Capitals, it did in a big way last night during a 5-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus played a 60 minute effort while Washington just looked like they were going through the motions.
We could analyze all the quotes that came afterwards and there were plenty from Washington's side. All that sounds like right now is talk, talk, talk. At 22-18-8, the Capitals are now in danger of falling out of the top eight in very short order. Instead of breaking this down too deeply, maybe it is time to say what needs to be said.
A Beltway Rant.....
This team is built wrong and in a lot of cases coached wrong. When you have one of the best players in the game in Alex Ovechkin, a great playmaker in Nicklas Backstrom, and a cornerstone defenseman in the making with John Carlson, Washington should be better than what they are now. We alluded to this in our last post that the GM and coach had a chance to address and solve some of the more pertinent problems with this team and did not do so. Now, they are continually paying for their inaction.
You have a team defense that just does not fundamentally play sound. It almost looks like watching the Winnipeg Jets when Claude Noel was the coach. Players do not stay in lanes or stay with their man. It was so blatantly obvious in the third period against Pittsburgh and then far too much against Columbus. That is part of why Washington has lost four in a row and 11 of their last 15.
No one could fault Philipp Grubauer tonight. Washington had little or nothing in the tank from almost the opening puck drop, It had to be disheartening as a fan to stomach watching this entire game. Just look at this Columbus goal. This is all one needs to know.
Again, the last month, the Washington penalty kill and even strength just has these inexplicable breakdowns where the play seems okay and then all of a sudden.....goal. It is not just the defensemen but the forwards who just brain lock time and time again. They give up over 30 shots a game On average, 14-16 scoring chances are given up by Washington. There is an overreliance on goaltending and when that fails, it gets ugly as the offense (though it is potent) can only bring you back so many times.
Maybe there was a reason why Dale Hunter left. Washington wants to play at a very high tempo but when you do not have the players to truly play that style, there are just problems that abound from all angles. Adam Oates and his assistants have to figure this out or like Claude Noel, he will get canned. The question now becomes how will he stop the bleeding.
In later posts, there will be a few details on how to start to solve some of the more problematic areas for Washington. Right now, the time is ticking Mr. Oates. The clock will strike midnight if this keeps up. The time is critical. We are waiting players, owners, and coaches!